Lead singer/producer Ilyana Kadushkin and musician/producer James Harrell (who plays guitar, bass and drums as well as acoustic piano and electric keyboards) comprise Lythion, an experimental, unorthodox, risk-taking duo that is based in New York City. Lythion's far-reaching material has never been easy to classify, but if one had to pin them down stylistically, the most appropriate description would probably be alternative pop/rock or art rock that incorporates soul and funk in addition to cabaret and jazz. As a duo, Kadushkin and Harrell bring an intriguing variety of direct or indirect influences (some from the United States, some from Great Britain) to the their work, and those influences range from Kate Bush, Tori Amos, David Bowie and Brian Eno to Aretha Franklin. It might be hard to imagine a group successfully bringing all of those influences together -- stylistically, Bush and a veteran R&B singer like Franklin are worlds apart -- but Lythion has managed to pull it off. For Lythion, being affected by art rock as well as soul and the blues is not a contradiction; for Kadushkin and Harrell, being artsy, theatrical, and a bit eccentric doesn't mean sacrificing a sense of soulful, bluesy, R&B-influenced grit. Clearly, Lythion knows how to balance style and substance.
Neither Kadushkin nor Harrell are native New Yorkers; Kadushkin was born in Miami and raised in Maryland, while Harrell is originally from San Diego, CA. Both of them moved to the New York City area to pursue careers in the arts. Kadushkin (who began studying the piano at the age of nine) was seriously interested in performance art -- Diamanda Galas, the provocative, controversial Karen Finley and former Teenage Jesus & the Jerks singer Lydia Lunch are some of the people she admires -- and she attended the Tisch School of Art (where she won an award for excellence in 1993 for her participation in Tisch's experimental theater program). Harrell, meanwhile, moved to NYC in 1991 and spent some time in an obscure, little-known alternative pop/rock/power pop band called Spider Jones (who cited Elvis Costello and the Jam as some of their major influences). Harrell got a lucky break when, in the late '90s when singer Krztoff invited him to play keyboards for his industrial/techno group Bile; Harrell ended up going on a national tour with Krztoff's band. Although Kadushkin and Harrell both arrived in the Big Apple in the early '90s, they didn't meet one another until 1999. Creatively, the two of them hit it off right away, and it didn't take them long to form Lythion and become songwriting partners. In fact, Kadushkin and Harrell wrote the song "Champagne" only a few hours after they met. ...From the Beginning, Lythion's debut album, was released independently on their own label, Lythionmusic in 2004. ~ Alex Henderson